James and Cephas and John, who were reputed to be pillars . . .
If you looked at the great cathedrals of the world, you would see that many have massive, beautifully carved pillars that support the weight of the building. There are all different kinds: fluted, square, round, brick, wood, and so on. Almost always, there is more than one pillar supporting the structure. One is simply not enough to bear all that weight.
In Scripture (Galatians 2:9), St. Paul writes about a different kind of pillar—the pillars that support the Church. He uses this term to describe James and Peter and John, leaders who set the course for the Church, provided support and stability, and upheld all the people around them.
Calling these chief apostles pillars makes perfect sense. Not only did they support the Church through difficult times, but like the pillars on any building, none of them did it alone. They shared the load with each other. James led the church in Jerusalem. Peter and John traveled from church to church teaching and confirming people in the faith. Paul pushed the boundaries, establishing churches throughout Asia Minor and into Europe. They all understood that one person could not possibly do everything, and they also understood that each person had different gifts and abilities, each of which could bring different blessings to the Church.
Many of us are pillars as well. If you are a father or mother, you are a pillar of your family. If you lead a group at your parish, you are a pillar. Maybe you are a confidant for a dear friend. This person trusts you to offer support.
But don’t think that your whole life is meant to be spent supporting other people. Just as Peter needed Paul, you need the support of other people. You need these other pillars to help you share the load and to hold you up whenever you start feeling weak or worn down. You don’t have to carry the weight of the world on your shoulders. You don’t have to be the only one supporting other people. Look around. You are probably surrounded by pillars. Let them help you. Let them share the load. Together, we can support our families and the family of God.
Word Among Us